Arctic Update Header
March 26, 2013


Both chambers have begun their spring recesses. The Senate returns on April 8. The House returns on April 9.  


Deadly Dance: Arctic Warming and Global Climate Change, March 26-27, 2013 (Tufts University, Medford, MA) The Warming Arctic, the Edward R. Murrow Center and the Center of International Environment and Resource Policy will convene a group of experts, policy makers, business and media to examine the growing body of evidence on the climate impact of the Arctic - and try to share some big approaches to it. 


28th Wakefield Symposium: Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, March 26-29, 2013, Anchorage. This symposium seeks to advance our understanding of responses of arctic marine ecosystems to climate change at all trophic levels, by documenting and forecasting changes in environmental processes and species responses to those changes. Presentations will focus on collaborative approaches to understanding and managing living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and to managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. Hosted by Alaska Sea Grant and sponsors.

Sequester, Spending Bill Chop NASA Funding. Congress sent a fiscal 2013 spending bill to President Obama on Thursday that will leave NASA with about $1.2 billion less this year than it received last year. Thanks to the sequester budget cuts already in effect, NASA was bracing for a cut of about $900 million from the roughly $17.8 billion it received in fiscal 2012. Federal Times


Arctic Sea Ice Melt Resumes Even as Alaska Shivers. Even though breakup is only a distant dream for many Alaskans, in the Arctic, it's already happening in a big way. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Colorado announced Monday that the Arctic researched its maximum extent for the year on March 15, which means the ice in the world's far north is once again beginning to melt. Alaska Dispatch


Inuit to Research Polar Bear Den Habits in Nunavut. A group of Inuit in Clyde River, Nunavut, is taking the initiative to research polar bear denning habits on the north and east side of Baffin Island. A committee was formed to oversee the project. Inutiq Iqaqrialu, who heads the committee, said there is not a lot of scientific information on denning, and that's why he came up with the idea. CBC News


Some Alaskan Trout Use Flexible Guts for the Ultimate Binge Diet. Imagine having a daylong Thanksgiving feast every day for a month, then, only pauper's rations the rest of the year. University of Washington researchers have discovered Dolly Varden, a kind of trout, eating just that way in Alaska's Chignik Lake watershed. Organs such as the stomach and intestines in the Dolly Varden doubled to quadrupled in size when eggs from spawning sockeye salmon became available each August, the researchers found. They were like vacuums sucking up the eggs and nipping at the flesh of spawned-out salmon carcasses. Alaska Native News


arcticcouncilThe Arctic Council: Underpinning Stability in the Arctic. At first glance, it may seem odd that a once-obscure organization devoted to environmental preservation and sustainable development should now be among the Arctic's most prominent actors. To experienced observers, however, the Arctic Council's growing stature is no more surprising than the fact that the regional 'meltdown' many political scientists forecast has never occurred. Today, the council is effectively presiding over an emerging 'stability architecture' based not on military strength, but on the multilateral pursuit of common interests. This does not imply the exclusion of the military, simply its deployment in novel and unconventional ways. This article looks back briefly on the crisis that never was, before scanning the current Arctic security horizon and evaluating the developing role of the Arctic Council. The Arctic Institute


NOAANew Version of Arctic Ocean Grid Released. The International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO) initiative has released a new bathymetric grid of the Arctic Ocean. The IBACO grid Version 3.0 is now available for downloading along with geo-referenced images and maps that are suitable for plotting. The goal of the IBCAO initiative is to develop a digital database of all available bathymetric data north of latitude 64 degrees north, for use by mapmakers, researchers, institutions, and others whose work requires a detailed and accurate knowledge of the depth and the shape of the Arctic seabed. Initiated in 1997, this initiative is endorsed by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO), and the U.S. National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC). NOAA


BowheadNOAA Considers Effect of Arctic Oil and Gas Activities on Marine Mammal and Alaska Native Communities. NOAA announced that it is seeking comments on a supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) for oil and gas activities in the Arctic Ocean. The draft  development, in collaboration with the Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), includes analysis on how a broader range of potential offshore oil and gas activities could affect the environment, with a specific focus on marine mammals and the Alaska Native communities that depend on the animals for food and cultural traditions. NOAA


Canada's Air Force Eyes Drones for Maritime and Arctic Patrols. Canada's air force remains committed to getting a squadron of drones to keep watch over vast tracts of the country's coastlines and Arctic regions, be deployed on humanitarian missions, and even carry weapons in war zones, the head of the air force. Lt.-Gen. Yvan Blondin says delays in purchasing unmanned aerial vehicles have had a silver lining as evolving technology has meant drones are becoming more capable. Metro News  

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No formal legislative action was taken on Arctic legislation yesterday.

Future Events                      

**New**  The Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) Meeting, March 27, 2013 (Conference Call). The Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS) will meet to receive comments or questions regarding their draft document, "U.S. Arctic Marine Transportation System: Overview and Priorities for Action." To join the conference call, please email your request Staff will provide the call-in information. Both U.S. and international lines are available. The draft CMTS Arctic MTS paper is available here.


**New Link** Increased Arctic Maritime Activity, March 27, 2013 (Anchorage, Alaska) The Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard will hold a field hearing in Alaska on Arctic shipping safety and reviewing the lessons learned from the 2012 offshore drilling season. The hearing will also examine the U.S. preparation for Arctic shipping more generally, with testimony from Alaska maritime experts, local communities, and environmental groups. Witnesses include:
- The Honorable Tommy P. Beaudreau, Acting Assistant Secretary - Land and Minerals Management, US Department of the Interior (via video teleconference
Rear Admiral Thomas P. Ostebo, Commander, Seventeenth District, U.S. Coast Guard
Mr. Pete E. Slaiby, Vice President, Exploration and Production, Shell Alaska
Ms. Helen Brohl, Executive Director, US Committee on the Marine Transportation System (via video teleconference)
Mr. Ed Page, Executive Director, Marine Exchange of Alaska
Ms. Eleanor Huffines, Manager, U.S. Arctic Campaign, Pew Charitable Trusts
Mr. Matt Ganley, Vice President, Bering Straits Native Corp.


Arctic Science Summit Week, April 13-19, 2013. Krakow, Poland. The ASSW is the annual gathering of international organizations engaged in supporting and facilitating Arctic research. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science and to combine science and management meetings. Side meetings organized by groups with interest in the Arctic science and policy will also be held within the week.


American Polar Society 75th Anniversary, April 15-18, 2013, Woods Hole, MA. The American Polar Society will hold a meeting and symposium at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. This meeting and symposium is titled "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics." 


Arctic Observing Summit 2013, April 30- May 2, 2013, Vancouver, BC, CA. 

 The Arctic Observing Summit is led by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC). It is a Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) task and part of the broader SAON implementation process, which is led by the Arctic Council jointly with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). AOS is a high-level, biennial summit that aims to provide community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, coordination and sustained long term (decades) operation of an international network of arctic observing systems. The AOS will provide a platform to address urgent and broadly recognized needs of arctic observing across all components of the arctic system, including the human component. It will foster international communication and coordination of long-term observations aimed at improving understanding and responding to system-scale arctic change. The AOS will be an international forum for optimizing resource allocation through coordination and exchange among researchers, funding agencies, and others involved or interested in long term observing activities, while minimizing duplication and gaps.


International Conference on Arctic Ocean Acidification, May 6-8, 2013, Bergen, Norway. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Institute for Water Research, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, and the University of British Columbia, Canada, host a conference to consider Arctic Ocean acidification. Topics will include response of Arctic Ocean to increasing CO2 and related changes in the global carbon cycle, social and policy challenges, Arctic Ocean acidification and ecological and biogeochemical coupling, implications of changing Arctic Ocean acidification for northern (commercial and subsistence) fisheries, and future developments.


Private Sector Transportation, Infrastructure, Assets, Response, Capacity, and Development in the Arctic, May 30, 2012, Seattle, WA. A recently-held Arctic transportation workshop in Iceland highlighted the need to better understand private sector transportation infrastructure and assets, recognizing industry's role in the responsible development of resources, response and supportive infrastructure. As a follow-up to its efforts to inventory and map Arctic transportation infrastructure, the Institute of the North is hosting a workshop at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, Washington that focuses on three critical areas: private sector assets and infrastructure in the Arctic, staging areas outside the Arctic that support Northern development, and vessels and technology that are difficult to map but need to be measured for future decision-making. Participants include industry representatives, technical experts, researchers, Coast Guard and other response personnel.


AGU Science Policy Conference, June 24-26, 2013. (Washington, DC) Hundreds of Earth and space scientists, students, policymakers, and industry professionals will discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our economy, national security, environment, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to energy, natural hazards, technology and infrastructure, climate, oceans, and the Arctic. The event is hosted by American Geophysical Union (AGU), a Washington, D. C.-based international nonprofit scientific association.


Arctic Cities, Global Processes, and Local Realities, December 2-4, 2013 (Reovaniemi, Finland) The conference is organized jointly by the City of Rovaniemi and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, Finland. The goal of the conference is to present the latest research scientific knowledge about the global processes as they become local realities. Even if the Conference is scientific in orientation, it aims to bridge science and knowledge into action by bringing top scholars to share their research results, and to organize joint discussion with the leaders of the Arctic Cities. Sessions include: Rovaniemi Process: past, present, future ; Arctic responses to global environmental problems; people and extractive industries; tourism in the Arctic; the Arctic in global economy; climate change in the Arctic; indigenous peoples in cities; and, Arctic global flows. Cross cutting themes include: Arctic cities and global processes; management and governance in the Arctic; and, Arctic together with non-Arctic.

USARC header

Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter 

4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203, USA 
(703) 525-0111 (phone)